Local experimental pop band Elliot Street Lunatic (ESL) will be playing Jackson's Land of Nod Experiment, which occurs from July 23 through the 25th with headliners Eagles of Death Metal, Of Montreal and Tokyo Police Club. Jason Marr, the band's lead vocalist and guitarist, says that it will be similar to Rothbury or Bonnaroo music festivals. Also according to Marr, the band has also started work on their followup to 2009's Stories from the Void.
Marr along with Eric "E Rock" Robbins on guitar and vocals, Jordan Hahn on bass and CJ Kjolhede on drums and vocals make up ESL. The band blends folk and acoustic sounds with spacey ambiance and texture to create a sound that has is rooted to other bands but is still distinct."The most obvious influence from The Beatles and Grizzly Bear is our habit of using harmonies all the time" Marr says.
Another piece of the ESL's sound is the use of effects pedals, particularly the delay pedal. Marr elaborates: "Before Eric (Robbins) joined, the delay pedal was key in making our sound bigger than it was with just 3 people. It really caught on though, since Eric also liked to use delay, and has become important in most of our songs". The delay pedal's signature sound also helps the band with their colorful imagery about space and the like. Marr explains that "there’s definitely a connection in our minds from the delay sound and space imagery, and that has had a lot of direct influence on our lyrics, especially on the album we put out last year".
ESL will be playing this coming Saturday the 22nd at Mac's Bar with Way to Fall, who are releasing a CD of their own. About ESL's live show Marr says that they try to involve the crowd as much as possible. "We love having people come up on stage and sing along, dance, clap. As long as the crowd is having a great time we are having a great time" Marr said.
Midwest Fest, Grand Rapids premiere music festival will also host ESL, among a slew of other bands including Cheap Girls. The festival will occur in venues all around Grand Rapids from May 21st through the 23rd. ESL played Midwest Fest 2009, about which Marr said "Last year we played in a little coffeehouse with Good Weather For Airstrikes, which made it a memorable experience for us because it was the first time we’d met. He also said of the stage and overall atmosphere that "It was perhaps the smallest stage we’ve ever attempted to fit on, and the room really didn’t demand much volume, so we had a new challenge of staying put and keeping quiet".
The band will be happy to be back in Grand Rapids, but Marr jokingly said that he hopes the series finale of ABC's LOST won't interfere with their Midwest Fest 2010 plans. "We’re just excited to be back this year. We haven’t had many chances to play in Grand Rapids, so we’re hoping to leave an impression. That is, if we show up; it’s the series finale of LOST that night".
- Catch Elliot Street Lunatic w/ Way to Fall, Res Publica and Three Cents Short at Mac's Bar on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 the day of. It is all ages.